mardi, mars 18, 2014

Blessing in disguise

Yesterday, Seb left at 5am to catch a plane to Italy. As it was a monday and I had to go to work in La Defense, the boys' grandparents came at 6.15am to take care of them and to bring them to school.

Yesterday was also the day where the french government applied a new measure to combat the seemingly unhealthy air pollution in Paris and its surrounding. Only cars with odd number car plates were allowed to circulate into Paris and its neighbouring areas. Over the weekend, public transport in Paris was free. While I applauded the free public transport gesture, the one on alternate days circulation for cars was just not feasible. Many people lived very far from Paris in small towns where there was no public transport to connect them to their offices in Paris. They were also people living in Paris who needed to drive to their offices outside of Paris.

I would have no issue going to work on monday as my car had an odd number car plate. But alas, when I started my car at 6.25am, it won't start. The battery was flat. A1 played in my car on friday. I had driven to do grocery shopping earlier on before picking up the boys. On Sat morning, I realised that the signal light was on and quickly unlocked the car and switched off the indicator light. Over the weekend, we used Seb's car and I did not check if the signal light had used up the battery.

The grandparents tried to help me start the car. We could not jumpstart the car as we did not have any cables for that. As it was very early in the morning, I waited until 8am to call for help. I had no choice but to work from home. I felt bad that my in-laws came over for nothing having to wake up so early.

I called the VW service center where I serviced the car. I was surprised to learn that as I had used a VW service center, I was entitled to free assistance within 24months from the last reviewing of the car. I called up the VW assistance center and in an hour's time, a service man came. He took a portable battery and cables from his car and jumpstarted my car. We then let the engine  run for 15mins. I was told to drive for 10mins to charge up the battery further. I explained to the service man that with my car plate number, I would have gone to work in Paris if not for the flat battery. He told me that there were blockages on the main roads to Paris along the highway and it was a mess entering Paris. As usual, the french did not care about this rule and even number car plates vehicles tried to enter and had to be turned back by the traffic police. There were reluctant drivers trying to convince the police and creating jams.

So it was a blessing in disguise that the car did not start. Still, I learnt my lessons. No more letting the boys play in the car without my supervision even for a few minutes. And always go to the VW service center for car reviewing. It came in handy this time.

The decree for alternate days driving was called off. The pollution level had returned to a normal level. Furthermore, I think the authorities had realised the mess they created yesterday and the unhappiness of the drivers affected. As for me, I will go to office on thurs. Seb will be back tomorrow. If the decree continues, I will use Seb's car on thurs as his has an even number car plate. Or to avoid the mess on the road, I can also drive to Rambouillet train station and take the trains to La Defense. Just that, it would take me 1.5hours to come home instead of the usual hour.

To end off, I went to fetch the boys from school yesterday on FOOT!

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